The George Mason Wrestling team is much improved this year. We have a great group of guys working hard to improve and represent the University in a positive light. Although we all make mistakes, we are all on board at trying to make less of them and to learn from the mistakes we make. One of our team rules is “Don’t think about mistakes more than a few seconds. We must learn from our mistakes. 1. Admit it. 2. Fix it. 3. Forget it and don’t repeat it.”
In our competition Saturday against Bucknell University and Sacred Heart University, we made lots of mistakes. It was a tough day for everyone on the team. Bucknell did a great job of believing they would win the tough situations against us. We did not do much to prove them wrong. In 9 of the 10 matches, Bucknell scored last. We lost 3 overtime matches and a few more in the closing seconds of the bouts. Frankly, I was embarrassed. I was surprised Bucknell was able to impose their will on us when the critical situations occurred – Kudos to them and shame on us. I know how hard we train and the character of guys on the team. We have much more fight in us than we showed. We wrestled Sacred Heart 10 minutes after we lost to Bucknell. The guys were able to rebound with a team victory, but we were still struggling mentally from the first match of the day.
Some of the highlights from the Bucknell and Sacred Heart duals were: Ryan Forrest pinning his Bucknell opponent, Jake Kettler pinning his opponent from Sacred Heart; Vince Rodriguez winning by a technical fall against Sacred Heart; Sahid Kargbo, Greg Flournoy, Ryan Hembury and Matt Meadows all won by decisions against Sacred Heart.
The beauty of the bad day on Saturday is we did not have time to dwell on it. We had to compete the following day at Clarion University. We talked on Saturday night about the opportunity the guys had to move forward and they could take advantage of the opportunity to compete the next day. They could show their true toughness by making weight and competing in back to back days. They could use Saturday as an advantage as opposed to a disadvantage.
The guys rose to the occasion. They wrestled with greater determination. It was exciting to see things from practice being implemented in competition. Guys were trying to score points. Guys were attacking in all positions (feet, top, and bottom) in every period of their matches.
Ibrahim Bunduka rode his opponent for the entire 2nd period. Then in the 3rd period he was able to add an escape and take down to secure the win. Vince Rodriguez won by forfeit. Sahid Kargbo and Greg Flournoy won by major decisions. Both secured the major decisions with scores in the 3rd period. I loved watching them work hard to secure the team a bonus point.
Konbeh Koroma won his bout in a more dramatic way. He was close to scoring several times during the bout but was behind 3-1 in the 3rd period. Near the end of the bout, it appeared as though he scored again, but the referee signaled no take down. I decided to ask for a video review of the no take down call. I haven’t done it to many times so I was awkward in asking for the review. I asked the official if it was something that could be reviewed. He said it was. I said I was unsure how to do it. He put me at ease when he said he had yet to do it himself. He told me to waive the red flag to make it official. I waived the flag and heard laughter and jeers from the crowd. Thankfully after looking at the video the official reversed his call and awarded Konbeh the take down. In overtime, Konbeh scored another take down to win in sudden victory. I was happy Konbeh’s effort was rewarded with getting his hand raised.
At halftime of the dual we were ahead 20-0. Patrick Davis one upped his teammates by getting a pin shortly after the intermission. He used a technique the team had practiced a few hours before the start of the dual.
We lost our next 3 matches, but I was pleased to see the guys fighting throughout their matches. I liked the fact they were trying to score points and find a way to win. If we give our best effort and have a great attitude in our preparation and competition, we can walk off the mat with honor. The performance is more important than the result.
Jake Kettler finished off the dual with a victory and with several attempts to secure bonus points for his team. I was pleased with the team’s effort. I was pleased to see them rally and respond well when they faced adversity.
January and February can be tough months in college wrestling – lots of high pressure matches, lots of weigh ins, lots of travel. We will need to be persistent and determined. We need to be consistent in our lifestyle, training and competitions as we finish up our dual meet season. We have many opportunities in the horizon.
This coming week we travel to Lock Haven University for a conference dual on Friday night. Then, on Sunday, we are at home where we will face another conference opponent, Rider University, at 1pm followed by a non-conference dual against the University of North Carolina at approximately 430pm. Hope to see you at the RAC.
Reminder to all alumni, we are having an alumni reunion on Saturday, January 31 before our dual against Edinboro University. Please RSVP to the Patriot Club at 703-993-4147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.